Improving social, economic and environmental benefits is the shared objective of countries belonging to the Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific (RCA). The Government Parties to the Cooperative Agreement work with the IAEA to achieve this goal by sharing knowledge and expertise in nuclear science and isotope technologies to enhance agriculture, human health, environment, and industry. Some 50 representatives from 20 countries of the Asia and Pacific region, as well as the IAEA, met in Wellington, New Zealand between 1 and 4 April 2014 to focus on increasing cooperation and promoting the numerous peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology for the benefit of the region.
The meeting, hosted by the Government of New Zealand, marked the 36th time that national RCA representatives have gathered to review status of the regional cooperative programmes and discuss possible measures to enhance the efficiency of this cooperative mechanism.
In his opening address to the national representatives, Mr. Ali Boussaha, Director of the Division for Asia and the Pacific in the IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation, said, "The RCA, as its considerable achievements demonstrate, is an important mechanism for promoting regional self-reliance and sustainability in the use of peaceful nuclear applications. RCA Government Parties have been paying due attention over the past few years to all possible means and opportunities to further improve all stages of the cooperative programme, from strategic planning to implementation, monitoring and evaluation. As a partner to the RCA, the IAEA has a keen interest in the issues of significance to the Agreement, and in understanding how Government Parties address these to improve future RCA work in serving the region."
At this meeting, participants reviewed the implementation of the RCA programme in 2013 and the current status of on-going RCA projects, discussed and approved the implementation plan for the 2014-2015 RCA programme, and reflected on the preparation of the 2016-2017 RCA programme.
Other substantial matters addressed at this event included the approval of the revised RCA Guidelines and Operating Rules, the review of the preparation of its Strategic Priorities 2018-2023, the decision on the composition of Programme Advisory Committee for this group, the discussion on the future role of its Regional Office, the strengthening of the collaboration between the RCA and the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA) as well as the proposal for RCA engagement with Pacific Island Countries.
The Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific (RCA) is an intergovernmental agreement among the IAEA Member States that are located in South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific, and the Far East.
It was first established in 1972 under the auspices of the IAEA to promote, coordinate and implement cooperative research, development and training projects in the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology amongst the parties to the RCA.
Currently, there are 20 parties to the RCA, namely: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palau, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.
Further information on the activities of the RCA can be obtained by visiting the RCA website, which is hosted by the RCA Regional Office located in the Republic of Korea.